About the Energy Initiative

The Energy Initiative is a collective of planners, designers, and others with an interest in the intersection between the spaces we inhabit and the ever-shifting sources of the energy we consume. The initiative provides a forum for discussion, investigation, and contribution to the advancement of collective knowledge of the planning and design professional fields in the area of energy.

For more information about the Northern Section Energy Initiative, contact us.

Recent News

“11 Black urbanists every planner should know”

By Pete Saunders, Planning Magazine, Winter 2021. This roundup selects just four of the eleven described in the article.

What happens when SF’s largest employer goes ‘work from anywhere’

By Laura Bliss and Sarah Holder, Bloomberg CityLab, February 12, 2021. After so much baggage attached to Salesforce’s urban footprint, it now faces a potentially emptier future.

The Californians are coming. So is their housing crisis.

By Conor Dougherty, The New York Times, February 12, 2021. For those tethered to the local economy, the influx of wealthier outsiders pushes housing costs further out of reach.

New proposed bill sets ambitious offshore wind farm target

By Paul Rogers, The Mercury News, February 11, 2021. Humboldt County is one of the most likely locations for the first big wind farms to be phased in under the bill.

Analysis: Strategies to lower cost and speed permanent supportive housing production

From UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation, February 9, 2021. Four factors led to cost and time savings on the 833 Bryant Street development compared to similar projects.

YIMBYs sue for even more housing via RHNA

By Benjamin Schneider, SF Weekly, February 4, 2021. Pro-housing activists accuse the state of underestimating the Bay Area’s housing allocation target.

A Sunnyvale Toyota dealership is turning its car lot into apartments

By Nate Berg, Fast Company, February 3, 2021. The proposal converts the lot and the space above the dealership into mixed-use.

How the federal government could help kill highways

By Max Reyes, Bloomberg CityLab, February 1, 2021. A new bill proposes funding for highway removal or alternation.

Berkeley overhauls off-street parking

By Emilie Raguso, Berkeleyside, January 27, 2021. Most new housing projects in Berkeley will no longer have to build off-street parking.

Mill Valley resolution would oppose state housing mandates

By Lorenzo Morotti, Marin Independent Journal, January 27, 2021. The resolution addresses both local control preemption and RHNA targets.

Northern News March 2021

(Mt. Tamalpais and Angel Island, from Oakland. Photo: E. Rynecki, Feb. 2021) Featured articles: • Artist-driven community engagement • Work through community conflict on climate change by confronting fears • Pandemic severely impacted taxable retail sales in Napa-Sonoma Wine Country • and a seven-page manga on the life and work of Denise Scott Brown.

How SB 35 and AB 1763 pushed through a Marin County affordable housing project

By William Fulton, CP&DR, Feb 8, 2021. Using SB 35, the developer could build twice as many units in a building twice as tall as would otherwise be permitted.

San Francisco office vacancy rate eclipses financial-crisis high

By Noah Buhayar, Bloomberg, January 12, 2021. There are already signs of an early rebound in leases.

Newsom’s proposed budget includes intergovernmental Housing Accountability Unit

Josh Stephens, California Planning & Development Report, January 11, 2021. The unit will act as a housing ‘ombudsman’ and help cities navigate RHNA compliance.

SF, UCSF community benefits package for Parnassus Heights project not enforceable

NBC Bay Area, January 4, 2021, and SF Examiner, January 11, 2021. The hospital modernization and expansion promises investments in housing, transit, and workforce training, but supervisors want legal assurance of UCSF’s commitments.

Caltrain talks regional rail

Curtis Driscoll, Daily Journal Staff, January 8, 2021. A possible partnership with BART would integrate transit schedules and services.

Newsom wants to send $600 to millions of Californians, extend renter protections

Ben Christopher, CalMatters, January 8, 2021. It’s not clear when these proposed measures will be formally introduced and if they actually pass the legislature.

New study suggests Uber and Lyft could increase car ownership

By David Grossman, Inverse, January 7, 2021. Contrary to their expectations, researchers found a slight increase on average across 224 cities.

‘Slow Streets’ disrupted city planning. What comes next?

Laura Bliss, Bloomberg CityLab, January 6, 2021. City planners and equity advocates in Oakland and across the country reflect on the potential for trauma-informed planning.

Steep rent declines across the Bay Area in 2020

By Kellie Hwang, San Francisco Chronicle, January 5, 2021. Seasonal effects on rents mean they are likely to stay low for several more months.

Residential redevelopment of commercially zoned land in California

New analysis finds untapped potential statewide for mixed-use and infill development.

Why don’t we treat housing as infrastructure?

Sarah Karlinsky and Cristian Bevington, City Monitor, December 22, 2020. A new SPUR report showcases international strategies for housing production and affordability.

Northern News February 2021

(Above: Marin County’s only unaltered one-room schoolhouse, in use 1864-1957. Photo: George Osner, AICP) This month we have four featured and local articles including one by North Coast planner Krystle Heaney, AICP, on planning in small towns.

Northern Section counties receive over $543 million for transportation projects

By Jasmine Lee, Daily Californian, December 7, 2020. State funding will support multi-modal transportation infrastructure, including BART upgrades.

Housing measure puts San Mateo in production quandary

By Sarah Klearman, CP&DR, December 6, 2020. San Mateo voters narrowly extended existing height and density caps, potentially precluding a push for more housing.

Richmond council approves controversial shoreline mixed-use project

By Annie Sciacca, Bay Area News Group, December 3, 2020. The state has approved a site remediation plan, but activists and residents want a more thorough removal of soil.

‘Overdue’ ordinance requires SF landords to report vacancies

By CBS SF Bay Area, December 3, 2020. Vacancy data may be used to reduce speculation on rental units.

West Coast cottage reforms lead to explosive rise in permits

By Nisma Gabobe, Sightline Institute, December 2, 2020. In 2018 and 2019, cities across the West Coast successfully promoted accessory dwelling unit reforms to address the housing crisis.

Livermore development fight over new major solar farm

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, November 30, 2020. Livermore’s experience could become more common as California pursues 100 percent zero-carbon electricity.

San Francisco, trade unions at odds over modular construction

By J.K. Dineen, The San Francisco Chronicle, November 27, 2020. Trade leaders argue that cutting housing costs should not sacrifice workers’ wages.

Ambitious Sonoma Coast project paves way for ‘managed retreat’

By Rosanna Xia, Los Angeles Times, November 27, 2020. A Bay Area glimpse into the future for other coastal communities facing sea-level rise.

Do California ag counties hold solutions to Monterey County farmworker housing crisis?

By Kate Cimini, Salinas Californian, November 23, 2020. As farmworkers and their families dangerously overcrowd available housing, California’s coastal counties look to streamline production of safer housing.

ABAG launches energy evaluation tool for climate action planning

From ABAG, November 19, 2020. The tool uses one of the largest sets of disaggregated building energy data available in the nation.

Audit slams California for wasting billions in bonds

By Jennifer Wadsworth, San Jose Inside, November 19, 2020. The sweeping audit uncovered mismanaged and lapsed funds that could have supported affordable housing.

Northern News December 2020-January 2021

(Vasona Lake County Park, Los Gatos. Photo: Juan Borrelli, AICP) We’ve kept Northern News coming your way, and despite the pandemic, readership has increased by 60 to 80 percent since our March issue. Thank you, loyal readers!

Support the planners of tomorrow

In spite of all the craziness and losses in 2020, I’m so grateful for my family, good friends, and for my job as the City of San Jose’s Small Business Ally, which has allowed me to work from home to continue to serve my community — in particular minority, new immigrant, and vulnerable population small businesses that have been hit so hard by the ongoing pandemic. I’m also grateful to be able to give back to my profession by serving as the California Planning Foundation (CPF) President. Please help us reach our 2020 CPF Scholarship Fundraising goal by making a tax-deductible donation securely online.

Norman Foster says Covid-19 won’t change our cities

By Tom Ravenscroft, DeZeen, October 13, 2020. The master architect believes that trends of change were already in motion before the pandemic.

What do Oakland, Vilnius, and Rotterdam have in common?

By Derek Robertson, The Guardian, October 12, 2020. The phenomenon of temporarily reclaiming city streets for pedestrians has swept the world’s cities.

Google presents bold vision for downtown San Jose campus

By Victoria Song, Gizmodo, October 9, 2020. It remains to be seen how the local San José community feels about it.

Executive order directs California to conserve land, coasts

By Alexei Koseff, The San Francisco Chronicle, October 7, 2020. The order also includes directives to streamline land restoration and promote biodiversity.

New research: British Columbia shelter system tests homeless stipend

By Bridgette Watson, CBC News, October 7, 2020. Cash given directly to a select group of Vancouver-area homeless residents improved near-term outcomes.

Four Bay Area counties fail equity requirement for reopening

By Fiona Kelliher and Nico Savidge, The Mercury News, October 6, 2020. The metric attempts to address the pandemic’s disparate impact on California’s Black, Latinx, and Pacific Islander residents.

Pandemic and wildfires challenge California’s economy

By Conor Dougherty, The New York Times, October 5, 2020. Residents and leaders are rethinking where and how the state will grow.

Floodgates in Venice work in first major test

By Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times, October 3, 2020. A newly operable network of long-planned floodgates mitigates some effects of climate change.

Why Canadian metropolises will thrive despite the pandemic

By Joe Berridge, The Globe and Mail, Oct 2, 2020. Berridge assesses the challenges and possible paths forward during Toronto’s Covid recovery.

Richmond creates affordable homes from abandoned houses

By CBS SF Bay Area (KPIX), October 1, 2020. The City has partnered with the nonprofit Richmond Community Foundation to repair and sell the homes.

New law aims for fairness in foreclosure market

By Marisa Kendall, The Mercury News, September 29, 2020. The bill intends to prevent corporate homebuyers from purchasing bundles of foreclosed homes.

New CEQA law exempts sustainable transit projects

By Carly Graf, San Francisco Examiner, September 28, 2020. Improvements for pedestrian, cyclist, and transit infrastructure need to meet certain criteria to be exempt.

MTC recommends telecommuting requirement

By Laura Bliss, Bloomberg CityLab, September 25, 2020. The remote-work recommendation is one of 35 strategies in Plan Bay Area 2050.

Northern News November 2020

Photo of Bay Bridge eastern span by Rich Hay. In this issue: Revitalizing our neighborhoods and parks • What to do about Plan Bay Area • Holiday planning • Mentorship program • Project Homekey in Oakland • Planning news roundup • And lots more.

Redefining the role of the Guadalupe River Park in San Jose

By Jason Su, October 3, 2020. We need to reframe the discussion from what a great public space should HAVE, to what a great public space should DO in order to serve our communities more equitably.

Calif. cities are leveraging Prop 68 Funds in response to Covid

By Casey Case, October 11, 2020. Small-scale improvements in parks and recreation amenities can make a big difference in California’s small- and mid-sized communities.

California’s Project Homekey turns hotels into housing

By Jared Brey. The $600 million program, which helps Calif. cities buy hotels to permanently house the homeless, has created new units at a third of the cost of building new.

Five ways to better neighborhoods post-pandemic

By Leila Hakimizadeh, AICP, and John David Beutler, AICP. As the pandemic changes commuting patterns, some residential subdivisions could begin to function more like older neighborhoods in terms of activities and businesses.

The West’s wildfires collide with its housing crisis

By Laura Bliss, Bloomberg CityLab, Sept. 18, 2020. Oregon was short 155,000 homes before fires destroyed thousands more, including one county’s most affordable.

New research: Success for Santa Clara County homeless housing program

By Marisa Kendall, The Mercury News, Sept. 17, 2020. Results of the study are significant because this type of program has rarely been studied using a control group.

Northern News October 2020

Above, Marin sun and smoke © George Osner, AICP, 9-1-20. In this issue: Meet a local planner • Celebrate 2020’s best with new hashtag • and Planning news roundup has you covered, ICYMI

State housing mandate doubles Bay Area production target

By Susan Steimle, CBS SF Bay Area, September 10, 2020. The new RHNA numbers are out and they’re higher than ever before.

Orange skies across California as wildfire smoke blankets state

By Lori A. Carter, The Press Democrat, Sept. 9, 2020. The ‘creepy, eerie’ sky colors seen Wednesday were caused by particles in the smoke that scattered blue light.

$1B development would bring 850 housing units to SF waterfront

By Joshua Sabatini, The San Francisco Examiner September 8, 2020. The proposal creatively redevelops the site, using the state’s density bonus to achieve viability.

Google village: Legislative flop impacts downtown San Jose project

By George Avalos, The Mercury News, Sept. 4, 2020. To get streamlined review, the project would need the governor’s certification or a special legislative session.

Housing solutions fizzle in legislature

By Ethan Elkind, September 3, 2020. Housing policy impacts all of our major societal problems: racial injustice, segregation, greenhouse gas emissions, economic inequality.

NACTO: Despite pandemic, micromobility is here to stay

By Chris Teale, SmartCities Dive, September 2, 2020. Shared bikes and e-scooters saw 136 million trips in 2019, up 60% from 2018.

San Jose passes new fees for funding affordable housing

By Maggie Angst, Bay Area News Group, September 2, 2020. New commercial linkage fees give the city another affordable housing funding stream.

Lafayette’s controversial ‘Terraces’ apartments approved

By Sam Richards, Bay City News Foundation, August 25, 2020. The 315-unit project epitomizes the regional debate about where and how housing is developed.

Decades of racist housing policy left neighborhoods sweltering

By Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich, The New York Times, August 24, 2020. Research shows formerly redlined urban areas experience higher summer temperatures.

The price of saving Paradise

By Laura Bliss, Bloomberg CityLab, August 25, 2020. “The fire was a monumental event and altered people’s way of thinking about things,” including whether the entire community should be surrounded by defensible space.

SF sees historic shift in housing inventory

By Andrew Chamings, SFGate, August 15, 2020. The convergence of coronavirus and the high cost of homeownership in San Francisco may have caused residents to leave for California’s less costly regions.

SF finally approves 1,100 homes at Balboa Reservoir

By Trisha Thadani, San Francisco Chronicle, August 12, 2020. The new project includes 550 affordable units, of which 150 are reserved for City College teachers and staff.

New research: Advancing environmental justice while rebuilding existing locally unwanted land uses

By Miriam Solis, Planetizen, August 11, 2020. A case study of a San Francisco wastewater plant considers the consequences of redeveloping, rather than siting, a locally unwanted land use.

Portland passes the ‘most pro-housing reform’ to low-density zones in US history

By Michael Andersen, Sightline Institute, August 11, 2020. Portland’s new upzoning reforms allow for a wide range of “middle housing” citywide and removes parking mandates from most residential land.

Report: Single-family zoning dominates Bay Area housing, presenting barrier to integration

By Marc Abizeid, UC Berkeley’s Othering & Belonging Institute, August 11, 2020. From the first-ever analysis of the proportion of single-family zoning in every Bay Area jurisdiction comes five general policy approaches to help address racial residential segregation.

Minor reparations

By Roxane Gay, Work Friend, The New York Times, August 9, 2020. It is absolutely unacceptable that your agency is asking you to spend your own money to improve the agency’s thinking and efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Sales tax to fund Caltrain will go before voters

Bay City News Service, Mountain View Voice, August 8, 2020. The tax would generate the necessary funding to operate the imperiled system if ultimately approved by two-thirds of voters across three affected counties.

Study: Marin to experience worst traffic delays from sea level rise

By Will Houston, Marin Independent Journal, August 7, 2020. A new Stanford study shows the North Bay may receive less flooding compared to other parts of the Bay Area, but the flooding occurs at critical connections where few alternative routes exist.

How do households describe where they live?

By Shawn Bucholtz, The Edge, August 6, 2020. New survey data collected by HUD and the US Census Bureau shows most people view themselves as living in suburbs, even those who live in central cities.

Nonmembers ask APA to support defunding the police

By Brentin Mock, Bloomberg CityLab, August 6, 2020. A letter with hundreds of signatories from across the planning field argues that planning decisions have historically contributed to police violence and harassment of Black people.

Bay Area cities reluctantly approve housing in face of state laws

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, August 5, 2020. From San Bruno to Castro Valley to Lafayette, major Bay Area housing approvals have been compelled by SB 35 and SB 330.

Sausalito confronts historic inequities, considers affordable housing on its waterfront

J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, August 5, 2020. After a general plan change, Sausalito residents argue whether to expand light industry or allow some senior or affordable housing.

Opinion: We must plan racial justice in our cities

By Dorothy Walker, Streetsblog USA, August 3, 2020. Dorothy Walker, founding president of APA, says cities’ local land-use decisions are “ripe for transformation” to lower barriers to housing for the “disadvantaged, disenfranchised, and the community at large.”

Revised SB 35 Guidelines near completion

William Fulton, CP&DR, August 2, 2020. The Department of Housing and Community Development has released a draft of updated guidelines for implementing SB 35 locally.

After 250 Years, Tribe regains Big Sur ancestral lands

By Kyle Edwards, Native News Online, July 29, 2020. The Esselen tribe plans to use the land to revitalize, and educate the public about, its culture, traditional ceremonies, and history.

Caltrans’ Low Carbon Transit Operations grants go to three North Coast jurisdictions

By Nazy Javid, KRCR News, July 29, 2020. The grants support free fares to populations that include low-income residents, youth and college students.

Northern News September 2020

(Photo: H-P garage, the 1938 birthplace of Silicon Valley, Palo Alto) This jam-packed issue has 29 articles: Nine cover some aspect of housing. And two former Section Directors tell us how planning is changing.

Northern News July-August 2020

(BLM Plaza, Washington, by Victoria Pickering bit.ly/3eZwi9A) In this double issue, six of eight featured articles, three of 10 under Northern Section, and five of 10 in the news roundup deal with Covid or BLM.

Caltrain’s future in limbo after Santa Clara County defers tax measure

By Luke Johnson, San Jose Spotlight, July 22, 2020. County lawmakers considered a proposed ballot measure for a one-eighth cent sales tax to prevent Caltrain from potentially shutting down, ultimately deferring a vote on the proposal to a special meeting on August 6.

The pandemic has pushed aside city planning rules, but to whose benefit?

By Emily Badger, The New York Times, July 20, 2020. As bike lanes and cafes sprout on streets, marginalized residents wonder when their priorities will get attention.

HCD awards millions to Northern Section cities for infill infrastructure

By Alicia Murillo, July 13, 2020. Approximately $279 million was awarded from the Infill Infrastructure Grant Program of 2019-2020, of which Northern Section cities received 44 percent.

Socially-distant community engagement: What we know

By Alyssa Chung, Meredith Rupp, and Carla Violet, July 23, 2020. What can we learn from planners who have adjusted their outreach to conform to social distancing protocols? Photo: Screenshot of an online presentation of a site plan to a virtual audience.

Meet a local planner: Lina Velasco, AICP

Lina Velasco, AICP, Community Development Director for the City of Richmond, holds a master of community and regional planning from Cornell University. She discusses her work, professional views, and issues in her city. Interview by Catarina Kidd, AICP, July 2020.

Patience, planners; patience

(Zoning, San Luis Ranch Specific Plan, San Luis Obispo) By Henry Pontarelli, July 8, 2020. Don’t expect to see cities transformed before your eyes during your planning career. Consensus is hard fought and hard earned, funding is scarce, conviction comes in cycles; but incremental change will build to meet collective goals.

Equitably resolving public space in the time of Covid-19

(BLM Plaza, Washington, DC. Photo: Victoria Pickering, https://bit.ly/3eZwi9A) By Georgia Sarkin, AICP, July 6, 2020. How can cities evolve for the better after Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter? Five factors affecting public space are crucial to consider — infrastructure, evolution, density, mobility, and equity.

Virtual vs. in-person community meetings

(Photo: William Cooley) By Sajuti Rahman Haque, June 29, 2020. Community meeting and engagement tactics are evolving to accommodate Covid-19 distancing orders, but key characteristics of in-person, physically present meetings remain invaluable.

Pandemic call and response: Planners protecting and promoting health

(Dolores Park photo by Christopher Michel https://bit.ly/3j1OlhJ) After nearly 200 interviews with local governments, planners, and communities, Diana Benitez and Jessica Medina report on actions being taken to protect community health, and implications for implementing SB1000, the Planning for Healthy Communities Act.

A rewarding profession

(Photo: Tom Rumble, https://bit.ly/3esvlpo) By David Woltering, AICP, June 24, 2020. Despite its challenges, our profession is a noble one. This business of creating and maintaining safe, healthy, and livable communities for all can be immensely satisfying and extremely interesting.

Bay Area of 2050 will be more crowded — planners want to make it more equitable, too

By John King, San Francisco Chronicle, July 20, 2020. Only July 10, Association of Bay Area Governments and Metropolitan Transportation Commission released a draft of Plan Bay Area 2050 for public comment. It emphasizes 25 “bold strategies” for making the region “affordable, connected, diverse, healthy and vibrant for all.”

“After years of debate,” San Jose may charge non-residential developers to support affordable housing

By Sonya Herrera, San Jose Spotlight, July 18, 2020. The commercial linkage fee will go to the City Council on Aug. 25 and become effective on Nov. 14, if adopted.

Riots long ago seeded luxury living today

From The New York Times, July 16, 2020, comes another perceptive article on gentrification and race by Emily Badger and Quoctrung Bui. High-end development has transformed some Black neighborhoods into high-end development decades after they were scarred by unrest.

The 15-minute city as Covid-19 recovery

By Patrick Sisson, CityLab, July 15, 2020. To improve quality of life for an urbanite and boost the possibilities for municipal and economic recovery, you need to reduce the access radius for six essential functions: Living-dwelling, working, supplying and buying, well-being and caring, learning, and leisure.

The hidden toll of California’s Black exodus

By Lauren Hepler, CalMatters, July 15, 2020. Old regimes of housing and job discrimination have given way to predatory loans, disinvestment, and flare-ups of racism or violence in areas that once promised a level playing field.

‘A mini-urban miracle,’ new Berkeley homeless housing could be model for the state

By Emilie Raguso, Berkeleyside, July 10, 2020. Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board approved a new supportive housing complex that substantially lowered development costs through modular construction.

One to four: the market potential of fourplexes in California’s single-family neighborhoods

By Paavo Monkkonen, Ian Carlton, and Kate Macfarlane, UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, July 7, 2020. HCD guidelines emphasize realistic assessment of market and site capacity for new housing. Legislative efforts to promote fourplexes led UCLA’s Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies to analyze their feasibility on 6.8 million existing single-family home parcels.

New research: “Eighty-five percent solution: historical look at crowdsourcing speed limits and the question of safety”

By Brian D. Taylor and Yu Hong Hwang, June 30, 2020. The “85th percentile rule” has been used for decades to set speed limits in jurisdictions across the US. New research shows it originated earlier than most thought, and it was intended as a starting point in setting speed limits, not a firm guideline.

Who’s Where

News about Deland Chan, AICP; Afshan Hamid, AICP; Beth Altshuler Munoz; William (Billy) Riggs, PhD, AICP; Kyle Rose; Matthew Taecker, AICP; and Libby Tyler, PhD, FAICP.

A woman’s place is in the city

By Marisa Schulz, Next City, July 17, 2020. Listen to women; they are experts on the relationship between everyday life and the city. Unfortunately, women’s needs and viewpoints are underrepresented in cities.

General Plan Guideline alert: Environmental Justice

From OPR, June 24, 2020. This resource expands on the preliminary guidance provided in the 2017 General Plan Guidelines regarding environmental justice (EJ).

AICP | CM: Covid Conversations with APA New York Metro Chapter and PLANRED, Chile

By Alex Hinds and Hing Wong, AICP, July 24, 2020. The first webinar was recorded and posted. You can register for webinar Session 2 on July 30.

4 International experts on ZOOM: Cal Poly SLO CRP’s Spring 2020 series

Access to these lectures, sponsored by the City and Regional Planning Department at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, has been provided to you by Professor Vicente del Rio, PhD.

Earn required CM credits by viewing July’s law seminar

By Libby Tyler, FAICP, July 20, 2020. We’ve made it easy for you. View the webinar video and log your mandatory 1.5 AICP Certification Maintenance Law credits.

Graduating into a pandemic-afflicted world

(Photo: Brooke Cagle, cropped) In a four-minute video, Atisha Varshney, AICP, offers five tips for new graduates navigating the Covid-19 job market, and issues an invitation to join virtual roundtable discussions.

Director’s note

“Planning for equity and inclusion,” by Jonathan Schuppert, AICP, July 22, 2020. Take the time to understand our biases. Encourage our employers to offer bias training. There’s no action too small to start on this journey.

San José General Plan review and Station Area Advisory Group reconvening

Via email from Leslye Corsiglia, SV@Home, June 11, 2020. The SAAG will meet for the first time since January. All are welcome. Take the opportunity to offer feedback on the City’s most recent analyses and proposals related to the Diridon Station Area Plan. The General Plan Four-Year Review Task Force is also restarting, with the first video meeting June 25.

Nine pathways to much-needed housing

By Leila Hakimizadeh, AICP, and John David Beutler, AICP, June 3, 2020. Desperately-needed new housing can be added if we upgrade zoning and design standards and adopt policies that promote smart density, protect existing residents, and preserve affordable homes.

APA Statement on Righting the Wrongs of Racial Inequality

To read the APA Statement on Righting the Wrongs of Racial Inequality, May 31, 2020, go to  https://www.planning.org/policy/statements/2020/may31/ ShareFacebookTwitterLinkedinReddit

Bay Area billionaires are breaking my heart

By Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times, May 13, 2020. Rebuilding a fairer, more livable urban environment will take years of difficult work. It will require sacrifices from the wealthy.

Housing, the environment, the virus, and public transportation

Brief synopses of articles of interest to urban planners in addition to our longer summaries in “Planning news roundup.”

Northern News June 2020

(Photo: Part of an Earth Day project, Alto International School, Menlo Park) Local government planning in a post-COVID-19 world • TDM in a post-pandemic world • Reflections between Zoom meetings • Meet a local planner • Director’s note • Where in the world • Who’s where • Planning news roundup

Caltrain faces ‘existential crisis’

By Isabella Jibilian, San Francisco Examiner, May 8, 2020. Unlike BART and Muni, Caltrain is not funded by sales or property taxes. It depends on fares and parking fees to say afloat.

Second SB 35 ruling lets Vallco project proceed

By Marisa Kendall, The Mercury News, May 7, 2020. Ruling ends a years-long battle over massive redevelopment of failed shopping mall in Cupertino. Decisions in two SB 35 cases say cities must apply objective design and planning standards in a very clear way.

Will telecommuting yield the best long-term environmental benefit of COVID-19?

By Ethan Elkind, May 4, 2020. Working from home seems the most likely candidate for a pandemic culture-changer that reduces emissions.

Mobility: Who is moving and why?

By Riordan Frost, Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, May 4, 2020. Seven questions and answers about potential changes in residential mobility.

California shrinks; still most populous state

By Associated Press, May 2, 2020. California has been creeping toward 40 million residents without ever quite getting there.

Milan mayor: ‘People are ready’ for green change

By Laurie Goering, Thomson Reuters Foundation, May 4, 2020. Milan comes out of COVID-19 lockdown with a climate-conscious attitude, encouraging other cities to follow.

The last time VMT dropped this sharply? WWII gas rationing

By Jeff Davis, Eno Center for Transportation, April 8, 2020. Gas rationing wasn’t rolled out to the whole country until December 1, 1942. But the VMT reductions were obvious as soon as rationing started in the East six months earlier.

The perfect planning job might not be possible right now

Excerpted from a May 4 blog post on APA Los Angeles by Richard Willson, Ph.D., FAICP, Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Cal Poly Pomona. Most planners bring a sense of idealism to their chosen profession.

Density isn’t easy, but it’s necessary

By Bruce Schaller, CityLab, May 4, 2020. Americans have always had difficulty with urban density, but in a crisis, we need what cities can provide. (Schaller is the former deputy commissioner of traffic and planning at the New York City Transportation Dept.)

Can we sustain a world without traffic?

By Adie Tomer and Lara Fishbine, Brookings, May 1, 2020. If leaders encourage telework, alter revenues structures, and retrofit roadways, the nation can emerge from the pandemic with stronger and safer transportation.

Northern News May 2020

(Above: Guadalupe River Trail, Jason Su) • Avery Livengood, AICP: Green gentrification • From past Section Directors: Marlene Stevenson, Darcy Kremin, AICP • “Meet a local planner” in academe • Audrey Shiramizu: TDM post-pandemic • Micromobility can rebuild cities (Next City) • Where in the world • Who’s where • “What will our future look like?” • TWO news roundups.

VTA drops plan for massive S.J. BART tunnel

By Nico Savidge, The Mercury News, April 19, 2020. Bold plans for deep downtown San Jose stations raised red flags.

Who’s where

Job change write-ups for Shannon Hake, AICP; Michael Hart; Greg Holisko, AICP; Andrea Mardesich; Lisa Porras, AICP; Ralph B. McLaughlin; Destiny Preston; Kevin Riley, and Matt VanHua, AICP, were curated by associate editor Richard L. Davis.

COVID-19 planning roundup

By Richard L. Davis, associate editor, April 14, 2020. Our editors saw many articles about COVID-19’s effects on urban planning. These 10 summaries are relevant, informative, yet much shorter than those in ‘Planning news roundup.’

Approval process for Balboa Reservoir project gets underway

By Ida Mojadad, San Francisco Examiner, April 9, 2020. After six years of public hearings, the San Francisco Planning Commission has approved the initiation of a General Plan Amendment for an 1,100-unit complex. Half of the units are to be permanently affordable for those with up to 120 percent of the area median income (AMI).

APA names AICP Fellows for 2020

From APA, March 25, 2020. One member from APA Northern Section was inducted with this year’s class of 53.

Telecommuting will likely continue long after the pandemic

By Katherine Guyot and Isabel V. Sawhill, Brookings, April 6, 2020. Telecommuting has been the fastest-growing method of commuting over the last several years. The pandemic promises to accelerate this trend dramatically.

Rapid urbanization abroad threatens old buildings, traditional markets

By Rina Chandran, Thomson Reuters Foundation, April 1, 2020. Losing heritage to modernization is not inevitable, but it requires careful choices as to what should go, what should stay, and what should come in place of things that are removed.

Director’s note: What will our future look like?

By Jonathan Schuppert, AICP, April 15, 2020. When and as restrictions on travel and assembly are gradually lifted under State guidance, implementation will largely be local. Planners should continue to lead by example, learn from others, and adapt as needed.

First-ever regionwide analysis of sea level rise impacts on Bay Area

Adapting to Rising Tides (ART), a program of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), was made available as a short summary report and main report on March 31.

What now for dense housing near transit?

By Debra Kahn, Politico, March 27, 2020. Opponents of infill and transit-oriented development are blaming population density as a primary factor behind the pandemic’s spread in urban areas.

Coronavirus: Fate of Lafayette’s big housing plan postponed

By Jon Kawamoto, East Bay Times, March 26, 2020. Only four more public hearings can be scheduled before Lafayette’s planning commission must decide on the controversial, 315-unit housing plan.

Boost for BART: Economic deal could send $1.3 billion to Bay Area public transit systems

By Nico Savidge, East Bay Times, March 25, 2020. Federal funds expected to provide some relief for BART as revenue from tickets and parking fees sharply declines.

Bay Area’s largest housing development appears dead

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, March 25, 2020. Over labor issues, Concord’s City Council declined to extend negotiations with a building group hoping to redevelop a 5,000-acre former military base. As costs have soared, the many proposed community benefits no longer appeared financially feasible to the developer.

Coronavirus: Lockdowns slow Bay Area home construction, future projects

By Louis Hansen, The Mercury News, March 23, 2020. Housing developers are concerned that the shift by local governments to virtual planning and inspection could hamper their ability to meet tight construction deadlines.

Could coronavirus collide with wildfire season? California is preparing for it

By J.D. Morris, San Francisco Chronicle, March 15, 2020. Emergency officials in Sonoma County are already planning for the potential problems of wildfires and COVID-19 occurring at the same time.

UBC expert: How coronavirus will impact future cities

By Lou Corpuz-Bosshart, UBC News, March 23, 2020. Regional housing inequality needs to be addressed. It makes no sense to continue a trend where increasingly the rich live in Vancouver and wage earners who provide services to the city are being forced further and further east.

Tackling transportation emissions in California — or ignoring them

By Melanie Curry, StreetsBlog Cal, March 5, 2020. Early in March, two California Senate committees held a joint hearing on reducing GHG emissions from transportation, the state’s highest-emitting sector.

“Grieving for my sick city”

By Michelle Goldberg, The New York Times, March 17, 2020. “When the Corona virus emergency is over, people are likely to emerge into fundamentally changed cities, with economies in crisis, and beloved restaurants, businesses, and cultural institutions gone for good. I wonder if our cultural romance with urban living will recover.”

As residents grapple with smog, Vietnam pushes renewable energy

By Michael Tatarski, New Naratif, March 16, 2020. Vietnam is often portrayed with bountiful economic opportunities for people across classes. But the construction and development that boosts economic growth is affecting health and quality of life, leaving people to deal with the situation according to their means.

Cities fighting climate woes hasten “green gentrification”

By Adam Rogers for Wired.com, February 23, 2020. Scholars say newly constructed flood-fighting infrastructure has promoted gentrification. In 2017, Northern News covered efforts in North Richmond to foster shoreline resilience without displacement.

Antioch, CA, ‘Last bastion of the good commute’ in the Bay Area

By Candace Jackson, The New York Times, February 25, 2020. The Times’ Real Estate section highlighted Antioch for its relatively affordable housing and BART access. We have included a response from Antioch’s Community Development Director at the end of the article.

Transportation Trends for 2020 (and what cities can do about them)

William Riggs, PhD, AICP, LEED AP, a professor of management at USF, reviews emerging trends in mobility and recommends city practices to foster positive aspects of these trends.

San Jose opens first tiny home community for formerly homeless residents

By Maggie Angst, Bay Area News Group, February 27, 2020. Forty tiny homes and supportive services dedicated for the homeless have opened near the San Jose Flea Market, about three miles north of downtown, on a site owned by the Valley Transportation Agency.

San Francisco debates when, where, and how to build affordable housing

By Sasha Perigo, San Francisco Examiner, March 8, 2020. San Francisco voters passed Proposition E, “The Balanced Development Act,” which ties the City’s cap on approved office space construction to its progress on the State’s affordable housing goals.

Report: SF must build taller, expand into western neighborhoods

By Adam Brinklow, Curbed SF, March 9, 2020. San Francisco’s Planning Department released a Housing Affordability Strategy that identifies the current state of the City’s housing, and three core strategies.

Scott Weiner has another bill to build denser housing in California

By Alexei Koseff, San Francisco Chronicle, March 9, 2020. Senator Wiener’s SB 902 would allow by-right development of multi-unit housing in single-family zones statewide, while scaling the number of allowable units to city size.

San Jose’s Measure E passes; will fund homelessness services and affordable housing

By Richard Davis, associate editor. San Jose voters have likely passed Measure E, a new funding source for affordable housing and homelessness support programs funded by a property sale transaction tax.

Northern News April 2020

All of us are dealing with a loss of normalcy. Your editors have met the challenge with another issue of locally authored articles, announcements, and interesting news summaries. As we planners physically separate from one another, let’s challenge our professional selves to maintain an abiding sense of service to, and caring for, our communities. (Photo: An empty Facebook campus on March 12.)

Dozens of homeless find housing in downtown San Jose

By Marisa Kendall, East Bay Times, March 6, 2020. Villas on the Park — permanent supportive housing partially funded by the county’s $950 million affordable housing bond — has opened in downtown San Jose.


Due to concerns about limiting in-person events during the coronavirus outbreak, NORTHERN SECTION is cancelling the annual ethics/law training event previously scheduled for March 21, 2020, at the Alameda County Training and Education Center in Oakland. If you still need Ethics credits, you may view the webinar on the Ethics Cases of the Year presented


The AICP Exam Prep class on March 21st has been CANCELLED, along with all classes at UC Berkeley, due to COVID-19. ShareFacebookTwitterLinkedinReddit

Marina CA shows cities can retreat from rising seas

By Rosanna Xia, Los Angeles Times, February 24, 2020. Sea walls are forbidden, real estate sales must disclose sea level rise, and the city is working to move infrastructure and resort properties away from the water.

Northern News March 2020

(Photo: Chris Hadfield, NASA, 2014.) In this issue: BART progresses toward developing land at its stations under AB 2923. A 2019 book addresses the disinvestment/investment conundrum. Making it easier to negotiate the maze of Bay Area transit agencies. Deadline March 13 for Section Award nominations. Plus “Meet a local planner,” “Where in the world,” “Who’s where,” and a note from our new Director.

Public meetings are broken. Here’s how to fix them.

By Patrick Sisson, Curbed, February 12, 2020. The traditional public meeting can be exclusionary and does not often result in the kind of participation and experiences for citizens that encourage feedback. But the current public hearing process can be enhanced, and there are alternatives to be considered.

A plan to combine the Bay Area’s dozens of transit networks

By Adam Brinklow, Curbed, February 5, 2020. A new bill would establish a single universal bus fare across the Bay Area, create a combined transit map and departure time reference, and develop a transfer that works across every transit line.

Fighting sea level rise the natural way

In an interview by Lori Pottinger, PPIC, on February 3, 2020, Letitia Grenier speaks of the huge potential to work across jurisdictions and redesign systems to let natural processes solve some of our more complicated flooding problems.

Danville ballot measure sparks debate over open space

By Guy Marzorati, KQED, February 11, 2020. A proposed development for a 400-acre private property in Danville would accommodate 69 new residential units and leave 213 acres of publicly accessible open space. But the Danville Open Space Committee — a citizens group — gathered thousands of signatures to challenge the project on the March 3rd ballot. Stay tuned.

Height limit exemption effort starts in San Mateo

By Zachary Clark, Daily Journal, February 7, 2020. Measure P is a 2004 extension of a measure approved by voters in 1991 and is set to sunset by the end of the year. Now a group of San Mateo residents is pushing to extend Measure P’s existing building height limits while exempting areas around transit from the measure’s height and density restrictions.

Bay Area gets boost to affordable housing from unlikely source

By Emily DeRuy, Mercury News, February 6, 2020. New apartment complexes built on Caltrain land near Caltrain stations must reserve at least 30 percent of their units for low-income residents. But there’s no requirement that such sites be reserved for housing.

San Mateo may be first in state to use AB 1763 for low-income units

By Emily DeRuy, Mercury News, February 16, 2020. Without AB 1763, the density limits of 50 units per acre approved by city voters in 1991 would have limited the number of affordable homes that could be built on the city-owned site.

Best urban designs to reduce road injuries

From Mirage News (Australia), January 28, 2020. ‘If reducing the road toll is your ultimate goal, it is better to invest in safer alternative transport options than continuing to focus on car-based safety interventions,’ said lead researcher Dr. Jason Thompson. The University of Melbourne research highlights the importance of urban design and planning as key to reducing transport-related injuries across the world. Hat tip to The Overhead Wire.

“Three lessons 21st century housing policy could learn from ‘Little Women’ ”

By Jenny Schuetz, Brookings’ The Avenue, February 5, 2020. “It may just be the meticulous recreation of 19th century New England in Greta Gerwig’s ‘Little Women’ that has the most to say about American homes, even offering some bold yet sensible lessons to improve our own 21st century housing policy.”

SB 50 is dead – voted down by State Senators representing affluent suburbs, including the Peninsula

Senate Bill 50, in a Senate vote late Wednesday afternoon, fell three votes short of the 21 it needed to advance to the State Assembly. Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, a supporter, said, ‘SB 50 might not be coming forward right now, but the status quo cannot stand.’

How we define “housing density” is a big part of the problem

By Michael Kimmelman, The New York Times, January 28, 2020. “Jane Jacobs wasn’t focused on gentrification, and New York is not Palo Alto is not Barcelona is not Hong Kong: Density is not one size fits all. Urbanism isn’t a mere kit of parts. That said, the implications today are still plain for rezoning legislation like [California’s] SB 50.”

Northern News February 2020

To kick off 2020, we’re featuring articles on Oakland 2100-The Game, results from January’s Northern News survey, tiny homes for homeless vets in Sonoma Co., and the passing of a planning pioneer. Plus our regular features: “Meet a local planner,” “Where in the world,” “Who’s where,” and the “Director’s note” with a surprise announcement.

Will reuse developer exit the Concord Naval Weapons Station?

By Annie Sciacca, Bay Area News Group, January 8, 2020. The Concord City Council decided not to step into a dispute between the developer and local labor over how much of the $6 billion redevelopment of old Navy land should be built by union workers. The council instead instructed both sides to keep negotiating, for which it established non-binding guidelines. A city staff report suggests the developer might walk away from the project if forced to use more union labor.

If you care about California’s housing crisis, give SB50 a chance this time

By Kerry Cavanaugh, editorial writer, LA Times, Jan 7, 2019. State Senator Scott Wiener’s amendments to SB 50 aim to alleviate the criticisms that the bill robs well-intentioned communities of the opportunity to accommodate denser and more affordable housing near transit on their own terms. The bill now allows cities two years to adopt their own plans to increase the amount of market-rate and affordable housing built near transit and job centers.

“City Dreamers,” doc film on women architects who built 20th century cities

Through rare clips, the film pieces together the legacy these four women left — each with her own theory, vision, or approach to urban landscaping and planning.

Northern News December 2019-January 2020

Above: SF General Hospital and SF skyline, photo by Diana Elrod. This issue features 4 original, local articles; 4 “Where in the world” photos; 7 Northern Section announcements, including “Who’s where”; “Planning news roundup” (7); and 67 photos.

What SF crane watch does and doesn’t tell us

By Sarah Holder, CityLab, September 24, 2019. “As dots on a map, all cranes may look the same. But their impact isn’t indiscriminate. Are they harbingers of displacement, or agents of much-needed supply?”


FEATURED ARTICLES: Meet a local planner, Leah Greenblat • Can a sports arena be a mixed-use, multiplex, urban park? • Reclaiming Downtown for People • WHERE IN THE WORLD • NORTHERN SECTION ANNOUNCEMENTS: AICP | CM credits for Ethics, Law • Nominate for Northern Section Treasurer • Funds awarded to California’s smaller jurisdictions • Miroo Desai elected to APA California office • Who’s where • Sign up for mentoring • CPF wants YOU • Nominate for East Bay Innovation Awards • About Northern News • PLANNING NEWS ROUNDUP, six articles.

Northern News October 2019

San Francisco skyline, looking SSE from Tiburon (photo by George Osner, AICP). Featured in this issue are “Meet a local planner” and downtown articles from both sides of the Bay. Publish YOUR urban planning article or photo. To submit, or for more information, contact news@norcalapa.org.

Bay Area employment tops 4.1 million jobs for first time

Excerpts from a Mercury News article by George Avalos, September 21, 2019. The Bay Area’s job market growth has outpaced the state and the nation. For the first time, the Bay Area has more than 4.1 million non-farm payroll jobs, and the newest jobs pay more.

Reclaiming Downtown for People

Hayward is in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area. Its once thriving Downtown has faced the loss of retailers to outlying malls and pressures from big-box stores, online shopping, vacancies, and underutilized properties, and the evolution to an auto-oriented street and neighborhood pattern. The goals, policies, and programs of the Downtown Hayward Specific Plan, Code, and EIR address mobility, infrastructure, and design, and identify potential funding sources, timelines, and roles and responsibilities for implementation.

Vancouver may be able to pull off ride-hailing as a complement to public transit

Excerpts from an article in CityLab by Laura Bliss, September 17, 2019. Fifty-three percent of Vancouverites manage to get to work by means other than driving. One thing is conspicuously missing from this urbanist dreamscape: ride-hailing: Uber tried but couldn’t get its way into Vancouver in 2012. But applications to operate a TNC in British Columbia opened on September 3, and B.C. transportation leaders are cautiously optimistic about being a last-adopter.

Call for Nominations, East Bay Innovation Awards

The East Bay Economic Development Alliance, serving Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, awards companies and organizations that contribute to the East Bay’s legacy of innovation. Now nominate for “Built Environment,” a category added for the 2020 awards.

The California Planning Foundation wants YOU

CPF is recruiting APA California members to run for elected CPF Board positions. Here’s the Schedule: Nominations Submittal Deadline, October 21, 2019. Slate Approval and Voting by Email Ballot, November 4 through December 2, 2019.


APA California – Northern is recruiting its 2019-2020 Mentorship Class, a career development initiative that offers one-on-one matching between young planners and experienced professionals who serve as mentors. JOIN BY OCTOBER 18, 2019.

Who’s where

Diana Benitez is the new Planners4Health Coordinator, Northern Section. Izanie Love, Student Representative to the Northern Section Board from San Jose State University. Amy Lyle, new North Bay Regional Activity Coordinator (RAC). See their photos and brief bios.

Can a sports arena be a mixed-use, multiplex, urban park?

Accessibility characterizes the public realm part of the Warriors’ new home. Chase Center is an urban mixed-use project, with significant public exposure and use. The site was designed to offer an urban stroll among gardens through a series of connected spaces that let you absorb much of San Francisco’s burgeoning culture, punctuated by public views of the bay.

Emeryville’s Miroo Desai elected to APA California office

This was the first election in which the new board position of Vice President for Diversity and Equity was on the ballot.

“Accept the Era of the Ministerial”

“Cities around California are beginning to feel tremendous pressure from the state to accommodate new housing rather than just plan for it. And there’s a growing feeling among planners around California that the cities they work for had better be more proactive on the housing issue so that the state doesn’t step in with even more onerous requirements.” —Bill Fulton, remarking on CP&DR about a panel at the recent APA California conference in Santa Barbara.

State, federal funds awarded to California’s smaller jurisdictions

14 California cities (four in Northern Section) got a total of $3.15 million in SB 2 planning grants, and CDBG funds totaling $21.7 million were awarded to 18 of California’s smaller cities and counties, including five in Northern Section.

Nominations for Treasurer, APA California – Northern Section

The term of Treasurer, an elected APA California – Northern Section Board position, will end on December 31, 2019. A Nominations Committee is soliciting and will review applications. The Treasurer will serve a two-year term commencing January 1, 2020.

Get your AICP | CM credits for Ethics and Law

Get your mandatory “AICP CM” credits on Ethics and Planning Law via Northern Section’s webcast on APA’s “Ethics Case of the Year” Oct. 25, 2019, and a Planning Law webcast Nov. 15 on cannabis, SB 35, and streamlining statutes. BOTH FREE.

Meet a local planner — Leah Greenblat

Leah Greenblat is Transportation Project Manager at West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee. She and her team won the 2018 APA California Award of Excellence for their work on the West Contra Costa High-Capacity Transit Study.

Less disruptive passenger pick-ups and drop-offs for ride-hail apps

Univ of Washington press release, Sept 5, 2019. Creating a designated space for passenger loading (PLZ) can discourage double-parking and reduce traffic conflicts, with geofencing used to increase driver compliance.

SB 330 has passed the California Legislature and is on the governor’s desk

The new law will spur development of affordable housing, limit fees on affordable housing, prohibit demolition of affordable and rent-controlled units unless they’re replaced, and give existing tenants first right of return. The bill was enrolled and presented to the Governor at 2 pm on September 17th.

Main-Street Modern: How Columbus, Indiana, became a design capital

From an article by Kriston Capps, CityLab, with eight large color photos, Sept. 3, 2019. “Just 45 minutes south of Indianapolis, Columbus is in most respects a quaint Hoosier town brimming with main-street appeal. But in one vital way, it is unlike any other place in the country. It is a mecca for Modernism, a repository of mid-century architecture. As unlikely as it sounds, Columbus, Indiana, is a citadel of design.”


Why is CaRLA suing California cities? • WHERE IN THE WORLD, two photos • NORTHERN SECTION NEWS: CPF needs your help in supporting planning students • Northern Section’s David Early gets PEN Honor Award • AICP-certified planners earn more than non-certified planners • Northern News seeks Associate Editor • CPF’s Northern Section 2019-2020 scholarship recipients • New Emerging Planners Group • Director’s note • New Webcast Series on Planning Ethics and Law • Letters • Who’s where • About Northern News • PLANNING NEWS ROUNDUP, 15 articles excerpted and linked

Homeless housing developer aims to bring back bungalow court

By Elijah Chiland, Curbed LA. A Los Angeles nonprofit sees the bungalow court of the early 20th century as a good way to house the homeless. The bungalow court was at one time the most common form of multifamily housing in Southern California. Building this type of project is now possible because of LA’s Transit Oriented Communities program, established after voters approved an affordable housing ballot measure in 2016.

Elected officials have visionary responsibilities to ensure that today’s plans consider tomorrow’s needs

Michael Woo recently retired after 10 years as Dean of Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Environmental Design — the first urban planner to hold that position. (Woo holds a master of city planning from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in politics and urban studies from UC Santa Cruz.) In this TPR interview he responds to a statement that “city planning seems disrespected by all interests,” and to questions such as “what should schools of planning and architecture be inculcating in their students?” and “who should planners be planning for?”

Who’s where

Northern Section’s Treasurer and Social Media Coordinator recently changed their day jobs.

Northern News September 2019

This photo of Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park in Monterey, CA, is by Libby Tyler, FAICP. Our feature article, republished with permission from NextCity, is about CaRLA’s lawsuits. Your locally authored article can be featured in our next issue: Contact news@norcalapa.org.


Love the layout and links! Nicely done.
—Marnie Waffle, Monterey

Director’s note

By James A. Castañeda, AICP. Working at the planning counter can be tedious, or it can be one of the more important and rewarding parts of being a planner — where we learn how to listen and how to empathize. And while we usually don’t see the results of our work for years, we can in a few short hours at the counter resolve several problems, provide direction, or offer advice. These small victories add up and help you appreciate what you do and for whom.

What’s new? The Emerging Planners Group

By Danae Hall and Veronica Flores. Being on the Steering Committee allows members to network “up” with the more senior planners and professionals who speak at our events. Active members also to get to know each other better and build a strong network of peers in the Bay Area. We hope you are interested in joining our Steering Committee, but you still get the chance to meet other professionals simply by attending future EPG events.

SB 35 watch: Latest in Cupertino vs Vallco redevelopment battle

From a Mercury News article by Thy Vo, August 22, 2019: Under state law, Sand Hill Property Co., the owner and developer of Vallco Shopping Mall, has the right to build 2,402 apartment units — half of them below market rate — plus 1.8 million square feet of office space, 400,000 square feet of retail, and a 30-acre rooftop park, all as approved by the Cupertino City Council. But if the current plan gets tossed, whatever project replaces it won’t feature any office space. The City Council on Aug. 21 approved a general plan amendment that eliminates a 2-million-square-foot allocation for office space [on the site] and imposes a 60-foot height limit on buildings at the vacant shopping mall.

Northern California’s Karuk Tribe builds its first LIHTC project

From HUD USER, PD&R Edge, August 2019. “Opened in the fall of 2017, Karuk Homes 1 is a 30-unit affordable housing project of single-family homes in rural Yreka. The project represents the first use of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program by the Karuk Tribe Housing Authority (KTHA), and the Karuk Tribe was one of the first Native American tribes in California to obtain a tax credit award under the state’s Native American Apportionment Pilot.”

CPF names Northern Section’s 2019-2020 scholarship recipients

The California Planning Foundation congratulates all of Northern Section’s 2019 CPF Scholarship winners, and we thank all of our Northern Section members who have supported CPF through past conference and section fundraising events with generous donations. Your support has made a difference in the lives of these students!

Become Northern News’ Associate Editor

Northern News — published 10 times each year — is seeking an Associate Editor. Are you a member of APA working or living in northern California? Would you like to help determine our newsmagazine content and solicit articles relevant to the planning profession, current planning issues, or proposed development in northern California and elsewhere? Then please read this short announcement and contact us.

‘The state is now targeting cities over housing. It’s about time’

By San Francisco Business Times, August 16, 2019. “If cities that aren’t taking California’s housing crisis seriously begin to feel the heat, will they finally see the light? At least a few encouraging signs suggest they might — signs that the state needs to pressure communities, mainly suburban, that continue to deny, derail, or downsize housing projects within their borders.”

‘On average, AICP-certified planners earn $16,000 more annually than non-certified planners’ —APA

By Don Bradley, PhD, AICP. If you wish to pass the semi-annual AICP exam, it’s a good idea to start early and take the valuable classes Northern Section offers each spring and Fall. This September and October, expert guest speakers and recent course grads will cover all domains of the AICP exam during five Saturday sessions at UC Berkeley.

What is CaRLA, and why is it suing California cities?

By Jared Brey, Next City, August 15, 2017. The California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund, or CaRLA, is ready to pounce. ‘I think everybody’s starting to get the message that these laws [like the Housing Accountability Act] are out there and that the state is serious — and people are serious,’ says Sonja Trauss, a co-executive director of CaRLA. Adds Matt Lewis, director of communications for California YIMBY, ‘If you look at the model of how the environmental movement evolved, they passed a bunch of clean air and clean water laws and then they would go around and make sure they were enforced. [Suing the suburbs] is literally the same model.’

Northern Section’s David Early to get PEN Honor Award

PEN, the Planner Emeritus Network, is an auxiliary of and resource support group for APA California. Each year, a select few APA California members receive a PEN Honor Award for an outstanding contribution to the profession or for a significant accomplishment that enhanced the recognition and value of planning. This article names the four PEN members honored this year and also lists the 35 honored since 1998.

“Uber and Lyft admit they cause more city-center congestion than predicted”

By Ben Lovejoy, 9to5mac.com, August 6, 2019. “A report jointly commissioned by Uber and Lyft has revealed that ride-sharing companies create significantly more city-center congestion than they’d predicted. The study looked at the impact of what are formally known as ‘transportation network companies’ (TNCs) in six cities: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC.”

Mobility and Equity: Oakland gets scooter regulation right

By Diego Aguilar-Canabal, July 17, 2019. “Oakland’s permit application expressly forbids scooter companies from restricting their operations to ‘certain geographical areas of the city’ without written permission. Additionally, the city requires that 50 percent of all scooters be allocated to ‘communities of concern’ — a regionwide measure of racial and economic disparities outlined by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. That stands in stark contrast to San Francisco, where scooters are allowed in less than a third of the city. For instance, the city’s Bayview and Mission Districts feature three times as many bicycle commuters as the rest of the city overall, but scooters are still not available to rent in those areas.”

Lawsuit alleges Los Altos blocked mixed-use project eligible for SB 35

By Kevin Forestieri, Mountain View Voice, July 28, 2019. The civil suit by the California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund (CaRLA), challenges the city’s denial of a proposed mixed-use building at 40 Main St. with 15 housing units. The City Council concluded the project didn’t meet the criteria needed to skip the normal planning process. CaRLA alleges city leaders violated SB 35 by failing to cite an ‘objective’ rationale for blocking the project. The suit seeks to void Los Altos’ denial of the project and compel the city to approve the application.

ADU watch: Redwood City tightens what was a less restrictive ordinance

By Maggie Angst, The Mercury News, July 27, 2019. Redwood City had one of the least restrictive ADU ordinances on the Peninsula — allowing units to reach 28 feet above the ground and 700 square feet of space above a garage. But the city council voted 6-1 to limit the size and height of second-story granny flats while providing incentives for construction of single-story units. The new ordinance is expected to go into effect at the end of September.

Bakersfield is booming, as are many other inland California cities

By Scott Wilson, The Washington Post, July 22, 2019. In recent years, California’s traditional north-south rivalry has given way to an east-west divide over government policy and resources. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Bay Area liberal, pledged during last year’s campaign to make closing that gap a priority.

To reduce homelessness, San Francisco aims to find and fill vacant housing units

By Kate Wolffe, KQED News, July 26, 2019. The ‘All In’ campaign, which launched July 25th, aims to mobilize a broad coalition of community members to develop immediate housing solutions for the city’s chronically homeless population. The primary objective is to secure a total of 1,100 housing units for homeless people across all 11 supervisorial districts of the city.

The future of the city doesn’t have to be childless

Brookings Senior Research Analyst Hanna Love and Senior Fellow Jennifer S. Vey write that the childless city is not inescapable, but “We must look to innovative, place-based strategies aimed at creating cities where families of all means not only can afford to live, but where they can thrive.” They offer a list of recommendations.

‘The future of the city is childless’

By Derek Thompson, excerpted from The Atlantic, July 18, 2019. “In high-density cities like San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, no group is growing faster than rich college-educated whites without children. By contrast, families with children older than 6 are in outright decline in these places. It turns out that America’s urban rebirth is a coast-to-coast trend: In Washington, D.C., the overall population has grown more than 20 percent this century, but the number of children under age 18 has declined. Meanwhile, San Francisco has the lowest share of children of any of the largest 100 cities in the U.S.”

We Want You! (To Join Our Board)

Do you want to be more involved with APA? Do you want to serve your fellow Northern Section members? If you are you ready to build your professional skills, consider joining your Northern Section board in one of our vacant positions! We are looking to fill vacancies for the following:   North Bay Regional Activity

Photo of Capitola-by-the-Sea by Juan Borrelli, AICP. This issue features three articles, two “Where in the world” photos, five items for Northern Section members (including "Who's where”) and 13 Planning news recaps.

Northern News July/August 2019

Photo of Capitola-by-the-Sea, above, by Juan Borrelli, AICP. This issue features three articles, two “Where in the world” photos, five items for Northern Section members (including “Who’s where”) and 13 recaps in “Planning news roundup.”

Huge land deals: 30,000 acres in Solano County purchased; 50,000 available straddling Alameda and Santa Clara counties

Up to 30,000 acres of agricultural land between Suisun City and Rio Vista has been purchased, and a Fairfield city councilwoman wants to know for what purpose it might be used. Meanwhile, 70 miles away, a working ranch of 50,500 acres northeast of San Jose and southeast of Livermore is for sale for $72 million.

Thirty from Northern Section pass May 2019 AICP exam

Just under 500 APA members passed the AICP Certification Exam administered in May. The 30 Northern Section members listed below include five who are enrolled in the AICP Candidate Pilot Program and may now use the AICP Candidate designation. Congratulations to all!

Director’s note – July 2019

After a whirlwind spring for those of us in the Northern Section — what with APA’s NPC19 in San Francisco and our annual Awards Gala in Oakland — summer has arrived. For many of us, it’s an opportunity to bask in the longer days, take family vacations, or take a little R&R. But your Northern Section board is working on programs for the second half of 2019.

Should we build cities from scratch?

People have been building new cities from scratch for millennia. When countries rise up, when markets emerge, people build new cities. Today, though, we are taking it to unheard-of levels. Guardian Cities has been exploring this phenomenon of cities built from scratch. Here are excerpts from two recent articles in The Guardian.

‘Deconstruction’ ordinance will require reuse, recycling of construction materials

“Under the old method, excavators smash the structure into rubble that gets placed in containers and shipped to a waste-sorting facility. The operation takes a few days and a crew of two to three, and costs between $8 and $12 per square foot to complete. The new model calls for buildings to be systematically disassembled, typically in the reverse order in which they were constructed. Based on two recent pilot projects, deconstruction would take about 10 to 15 days to complete and require a crew of four to eight people, costing from $22 to $34 per square foot.”

There’s no end in sight to divisive public hearings

By Michael Hobbes, an excerpt from HuffPost, July 6, 2019. “Locals are losing their minds over issues related to housing, zoning, and transportation. Ugly public meetings are becoming increasingly common in cities across the country as residents frustrated by worsening traffic, dwindling parking, and rising homelessness take up fierce opposition. Rowdy public hearings are nothing new in city politics. Meetings cut short after boos and jeering are usually sparked by projects or policy changes intended to address America’s worsening housing crisis. … Cities can redesign community outreach to encourage input from groups that have traditionally been excluded. But it’s not clear if longer or more inclusive citizen engagement will lower the temperature of local debates over density and growth.”

Who’s where

News about Jonathan Atkinson, AICP; Jim Bergdoll, AICP; Jim Carney; Sharon Grewal, AICP; Shayda Haghgoo; James Hinkamp, AICP; Noah Housh; Catarina Kidd, AICP; Edgar Maravilla; Steve McHarris, AICP; Megan Porter, AICP; Avalon Schultz, AICP; Jason Su; and Kristy Weis.

The students pushing Stanford to build more housing

By Jared Brey, NextCity, June 13, 2019. This article, originally published in Next City, is republished in entirety, with permission. “Like a lot of big universities, Stanford is almost a small city of its own. Operating in the unincorporated town of Stanford, California, in Santa Clara County, Stanford hosts 16,000 students and employs 13,000 people on faculty and staff. It owns more than 8,000 acres of land in six jurisdictions. And it is seeking approval for around 2.275 million square feet of new space through a General Use Permit, a periodically updated document that guides the university’s growth.”

Collaborative, sensory-based community engagement for a more equitable bike/pedestrian environment

By John Kamp and James Rojas, July 5, 2019. When Palo Alto’s California Avenue bicycle and pedestrian underpass was built more than 50 years ago beneath the Caltrain tracks, it was intended to solve one problem: allow pedestrians and bicyclists to safely pass from one side of the tracks to the other. The tunnel’s designers never foresaw that bicycling would ultimately skyrocket — today nearly half of Palo Alto students ride their bikes to school — and thus bicyclists and pedestrians now have to share a particularly confined space. As a result, pedestrians using the tunnel increasingly perceive those who bike through it as disregarding their personal space and coming dangerously close to hitting them.

What’s inside

This issue has three featured articles, two “Where in the world” photos, four items related directly to Northern Section APA members (including 14 planners highlighted in “Who’s where”), and 12 recaps in Planning news roundup. Enjoy!

Density mandate passes for all but smallest Oregon cities

By Elliot Njus, The Oregonian, June 30, 2019. By a 17-9 vote, the Oregon Senate on June 30 gave final legislative approval to a bill that would effectively eliminate single-family zoning in large Oregon cities. House Bill 2001 now heads to Gov. Kate Brown to be signed into law.

These nine northern California projects scored Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities awards from the California Strategic Growth Council

By Naphtali H. Knox, FAICP, as published in Northern News, June 26, 2019. SGC’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program provides grants and loans for programs and capital development projects, including affordable housing development and transportation improvements that encourage walking, bicycling, and transit use and result in fewer passenger vehicle miles traveled. From 47 proposals received, AHSC granted awards to 25 projects in California (nine in our “Northern Section” region, i.e., coastal northern California). The maximum award was $20 million.

Projects in 10 Northern Section communities receive ‘No Place Like Home’ funding awards

On June 20, California HCD awarded $179 million to developers of affordable supportive housing in 37 communities across California from the No Place Like Home Program funded by 2018’s Proposition 2. The awards mark the first funding from the program to go directly to developers.

Who’s coming and who’s going: California in 5 interactive charts and maps

By Matt Levin, CALmatters, June 20, 2019. “The California Dream is a global brand. For more than a century the state has been a magnet for migrants from around the world, and now has the largest foreign-born population of any state in the country. Here are five maps and charts illustrating the past and present of who’s moving in and, lately, moving out.”

SPUR/Northern Section Co-Sponsored and CM Events

The Northern Section is excited to partner up again with our friends at SPUR to offering up AICP CM credited events this fall. As a benefit to APA members, several of the events are free to attend.  Check out what SPUR has lined up this summer and hope you can attend some of these exciting

Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay fined $1.6 million; failed to give public beach access

“Luxury hotel violated coastal laws for years.” By Paul Rogers, Bay Area News Group, June 14, 2019. “The 261-room Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, built in 2001, will pay $1.6 million in penalties to the California Coastal Commission to settle violations of state coastal laws. $600,000 of the settlement will go to the Peninsula Open Space Trust to help purchase an adjacent 27-acres with additional public beach access.”